Children's shows with an educational bent, particularly those concerning the environment, don't deserve the bad rap they often get – blame a generation's vague memories of Captain Planet. Happily, the Quids In Theatre Company pulls it off with aplomb, eschewing ham-fisted subtext, excessive worthiness or information overload to craft a simple, charming and engaging piece of interactive theatre about why we should take care of our greenery and be nice to bees.
Clive the Grasshopper, a good-natured layabout, is concerned by news that the Magician who owns the bucolic wonderland inhabited by him and his friends intends to sell their hedgerow to a monstrous factory. Clive is even more disturbed when a local bee becomes deathly ill as a result of pesticides sprayed in the area. Only magic (and, naturally, singing) can save them both.
The production is an exercise in simplicity, with entirely positive results. Clive and his fellow insects are animated by inelaborate but skillful puppetry; the songs apply new lyrics to traditional nursery rhymes, ensuring everyone will be able to sing along easily; and the villains are enjoyable boo-able, without being too sinister for younger children to appreciate. Litterbugs is a welcome return to the Fringe for storyteller Kreestan Sennakie (wearing the most magnificent wizard's robe since Prospero), leaving its audience with a worthwhile messsage – and a packet of seeds to plant in their garden, for the benefit of local bees.